Friday, October 25, 2013

Alex Queral "Face | Book - Phonebook Portraits"

I know this show is in Philly and not the DMV, but my peeps Alex Queral is not only a University of Washington fellow grad, and a fellow YUCA, but also such a terrific artist who has carved a niche (pun intended) like no one else in the art world, that this show deserves a shout out:
November 1 - December 21, 2013
Artist Opening Reception:  First Friday, November 1st, 6-9 pm

Projects Gallery Philadelphia is pleased to present Alex Queral’s “Face | Book – Phonebook Portraits”.  In his third solo exhibition with the gallery, Alex explores the duality of the recognizable and the anonymous in modern society.  Works being featured include his signature hand-carved telephone books, as well as large-scale digital prints.

Born in Cuba with a migration to Mexico before landing in the U.S., the artist has experienced first hand the sense of invisibility.  Taking, until now, an easily discarded object like a residential telephone book with its lists of thousands of faceless names and numbers, Alex transforms them into three-dimensional portraits of the famous and no-so famous of today’s mass media.  Using the simple tools of an X-ACTO® knife and a little acrylic paint, his talented hands dissect, eviscerate and reconstruct these pages of soft material into incredible art objects.  Utilizing classical carving techniques on an unexpected material, Queral brings forth the individual from the faceless masses. The artist crafts recognizable visages, vaguely familiar but elusively foreign, as well as evoking his own cast of characters from the found sheets of paper.

What happens to these images when you enlarge them five fold, returning them to the cinematic context from which they came?  The graphic details become surprising clear.  The object transcends the material and becomes the focal point of discovery and serendipitous moments appear.  John Wayne’s given name (in the female) appears on his forehead; Clint Eastwood has a listing of funeral homes, perhaps a reference to the many men shot by Dirty Harry; Zimmerman is hidden behind the head of Bob Dylan.   However, with either media, the distinctly iconic work of Alex Queral cannot be denied.

Mr. Queral received a B.F.A. from the University of Washington, Seattle and a M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.  His works have been exhibited around the world and throughout U.S.; most recently at the Philadelphia International Airport and in Hong Kong.  They are in the collections of Ripley's Believe It or Not!®, Sasktel Canada, Jerry Speyer and numerous private collections. His images have appeared in numerous books, including Art Made from Books; 500 Paper Objects: New Directions in Paper Art – A Preview; Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Enter If you Dare!; Playing with Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing and Reimaging the Book.  Queral's work has gained International acclaim through numerous internet bloggers.   His carved telephone books and prints are exclusively represented by Projects Gallery.

Face | Book – Phonebook Portraits will run November 1 – December 21, 2013 with an artist reception on First Friday, November 1st from 6-9. The reception is free and open to the public.  Projects Gallery is located at 629 N. 2nd St. in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties section. A preview of works may be viewed on the gallery’s website at For more information and images, please contact Projects Gallery at 267-303-9652 or